I am currently journeying through an online course offered by Charles Eisenstein called ‘The Space Between Stories,’ which revolves around the notion that we — as humans, as a planet — are in the transition between a story of Separation and a story of Interbeing.
The first session invites us to consider — whether it be a dramatic moment or a subtle shift — “an experience or an event that unraveled your understanding of what is normal, who you are, how to live, what is real, what is important, what life is supposed to look like.” Basically, the moment when you came to this space between stories.
generosity, trust, community
On my journey, that initial shift was when I was 18. I became involved with a community of folks who seemed to live from an internal state of abundance, of trust, of interconnectedness. It was my first true experience of a community, the first time I had a real sense of belonging and connection with people around me. And, this community was generous. The people in it supported me in profound ways that I never thought anyone would. At times when I was in need, they opened their doors, wallets, and hearts to support me — with a true genuineness, without me asking, without expecting anything in return.
It was a profound generosity that completely collapsed the world of scarcity and selfishness I’d be living in my whole life. This experience began to shift my relationship with money, with time, with the story I’d been living in that encouraged me to be selfish, to protect myself first, to worry about money and security. I began to see that society the dominant economic system conditioned me to be selfish, and that maybe this wasn’t my true nature after all. I learned that selfishness was doing nothing to serve me, and that in being generous I could trust that the world would be generous right back.
I began to loosen my grip on my bank account, on my time, on my energy. I no longer viewed things as scarce and finite. I began to explore what it meant to be generous and erase that old story of selfishness, that the world is selfish and so am I. These people proved to me that selfishness was not a universal innate truth.
It is of course and up and down journey — sometimes I grip my dollars like it’s the they’re the last drops of water on Earth. Sometimes I see the numbers in the bank account dwindling and become fearful, scheming for how to make more money, grinding my spirit away working too much to make more.
I don’t have the words to explain this trust, this knowing, that began to develop me in. But it’s there and I follow it with my whole being. And perhaps this is part of the new story — I can’t prove it, I can’t show it to you, I don’t have facts or equations. But I know it. I know it deeply. It’s not something that I think can be put into words, but is only felt. I can imagine people saying “well what about the person in _____ this situation?” To that I ask, Did they really trust? Were they genuinely generous? Did they act from the deep seat of intuition, or from a mindset of scarcity and fear? And, I would add that this is my path, and perhaps theirs looks different.
This was also my first experience of community. And I began to ask myself, where has this been my whole life? Why does this feel like a special pocket in the world? Why aren’t there strong communities like this everywhere else? Do people realize that community is what they’re missing?
This was when the shift for me first began. I don’t think I realized it at the time, but perhaps a couple of years later I looked back and saw how I was now different, how I was living my life different and creating a different world, a new story.